Al Jazeera's Yasmine Ryan spoke with M'hammed Henniche, head of the Union of Muslim Associations of Seine-Saint-Denis (UAM 93) [Fr], about how all the negative attention had affected Muslim voters in the run up to the first round of voting - to be held on Sunday, April 22.
YR: During her campaign, Marine Le Pen, the far-right National Front candidate, has used the term "Islamoleftism". Do you think the feeling that, as you say, so many Muslims seem likely to vote for the left lends some truth to her generalisation?
MH: The left, especially the Communists and the Greens, and to an extent, the Socialists, have understood that there are votes to be won amongst Muslims. During [former UMP President] Jacques Chirac's era, there was a sizable percentage, as high as 20 per cent [of French Muslims], who voted for the right.
With Sarkozy, especially as he has moved further to the right, many of these voters have abandoned the UMP. The left has won a lot of support [from Muslim voters] for its stance on Palestine. Melenchon and Joly have courted this vote and could be described as Islamophiles.
It's true what Marine Le Pen is saying, that there is an alliance between Muslims and the left. But this alliance has been created by the right, who have pushed Muslims to the left.